A Florida man has been apprehended by the Coast Guard in Georgia trying to cross the Atlantic in a homemade hamster wheel. He now faces charges.
It took the US Coast Guard five days to bring the 51-year-old back to land - and it was not his first attempt to cross the ocean in a self-made vehicle. Reza B., a former cyclist from Florida, was discovered around 110 kilometers off the coast of Tybee Island in the US state of Georgia as the US Coast Guard prepared for the approaching Hurricane Franklin on August 26th.
He explained to the crew that he was on his way to England with his “Hydro-Pod”. However, the emergency services came to the conclusion that the hamster wheel boat was not seaworthy for crossing the Atlantic and wanted to stop the man.
The complaint filed in Miami states that Reza B. then threatened to harm himself with a knife. A day later he threatened to blow himself up with a bomb. Because he was holding wires in his hand, the Navy's explosives unit was alerted.
After two more Coast Guard ships arrived, the man was brought water and food in a small boat and informed of the approaching hurricane. He wasn't impressed, but at least admitted that the bomb wasn't real.
On August 29th, the Atlantic crosser was successfully separated from his "boat" and brought ashore, where he is now facing criminal charges for his "criminal behavior on the high seas," according to a statement from the US Coast Guard.
Although he was forbidden by the authorities, Reza B. has tried to set sail a total of four times since 2014 on a self-made vehicle. In 2021 he tried a hamster wheel for the first time and was also stopped before he could make his way from Florida to New York. The New York Times article from the time says: "He tried to walk on the water. It didn't go so well."
Sources: "New York Times", "ZDF", "The Guardian"